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  MSNBC    NOW With Alex Wagner    News/Business. Alex Wagner.  
   Forces driving the day's stories. New.  

    January 22, 2013
    9:00 - 10:00am PST  

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i've got two tickets to paradise!l set? pack your bags, we'll leave tonight. uhh, it's next month, actually... eddie continues singing: to tickets to... paradiiiiiise! no four. remember? whoooa whooaa whooo! you know ronny, folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to geico sure are happy. and how happy are they jimmy? happier than eddie money running a travel agency. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. president obama may be running the plays in a different order, but the strategy is pure kennedy, which is to say the dream lives on, the hope rises again, and the work begins anew. it is tuesday, january 22nd, and this is "now."
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joining me today here in washington d.c. on a fancy new set, msnbc political analyst and former rnc chair the notorious michael steel. from the washington post, msnbc policy analyst, my dear friend ezra cline. washington correspondent here live in the flesh michael sharer, and our author of our divided political heart." an incredible read. washington's post columnist and msnbc contributor e.j. deon. >> great to be here. >> thanks, e.j. ronald reagan was worn some as the 40th president of the united states ushering in an era of limited government and the rise of the modern conservative movement. yesterday barack obama, the 44th president of the united states, was sworn in for his second term. the moment that will define progressive politics m years to come and one that symbolizes a renewed faith and the power of the american government.
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needless to say, it was a day several decades in the making. >> for the first time in history government, the people said, was not our master. it is our servant. >> government is not the problem, and government is not the solution. we, the american people, we are the solution. >> the commitments we make to each other through medicare and medicaid and social security, these things do not sapp our nation. they strengthen us. they do not make us a taker of nags. they free us to take the risks that make this country great. >> as he made a forceful case for economic equality and the social safety net president obama championed the american belief in equality of race, gender, and sexual orientation, becoming the first american president to use the word gay in an inaugural address. >> our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and
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sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. if we are truly created equal surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. >> after remaining nearly silent on the issue for most of his first term, the president spoke with renewed commitment regarding climate change and the urgent battle to combat it. >> some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms. >> after outlining this broad, ambitious agenda, the president then went to lunch with the people who will seek to block it. surrounded by congressional republicans, president obama acknowledged the gulf separating him from his adversaries on capitol hill. >> i recognize there are profound differences in this room, but i just want to say thank you for your service, and i want to thank your families for their service because regardless of our political
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persuasions and perspectives, i know that all have us serve because we believe we can make america for future generations. >> the question still remains. can he actually implement it? e.j., my friend, it's rare we get to see you in the flesh. i go to you first on this. there's been a lot of analysis about whether that speech was kind of almost a rejoinder to reagan's first inaugural. a, what do you make of that, and, b, in terms of actually moving this policy forward, can the president do it given the climate in washington these days? >> i think the answer is yes, and the question is how far forward can he move it? i think the critique of this speech that somehow the president was in the face of conservatives, yes, he did make a philosophical argument. he did answer some of the conservative arguments, but that's exactly what ronald reagan did in his first inaugural address. that's why it's good that you brought it up. it's exactly what f.d.r. did in his second inaugural address,
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which was if anything, more in your face than this obama speech was. i think the big difference is the first time around the president set himself up to fail by essentially saying i will be the president of bipartisanship, but, guess what, if the other party doesn't want to play, you're going to fail, so he put all the power in the hands of the republican party. this time he is saying, all right. we know after four years we're having a big argument here. i'm willing to join that argument. i'm going to lay out what i want, and let's have at it. and i think you've already seen some success with this new strategy. he got taxes increased by over $600 billion. the republicans have at least begun to back off on the debt ceiling fight. you note that sandy aid passed even though it only got 46 republican votes in the house. it seems to me this strategy of laying out what you want and then negotiating is better than trying to figure out what the other side wants. >> chairman steel, there's been
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some discussion as to whether this was even, many of the, that progressive of a speech, but the reaction from conservative outlets -- >> oh, baby, it was. >> i have been waiting for the real barack obama to show up, and i don't mean that as a criticism. i mean that honestly. knowing him as i have come to know him over the years, going back to when he first came to washington as a senator, that's the guy that i as chairman was prepared to do battle against and framed my chairmanship and even wrote a book about how to defeat this agenda, this very progressive agenda for conservatives to wake up coming out of the slumps of 2006 and 2008. >> can i say one thing, though, and ezra, i would like to get your thoughts on this. i thought it was a progressive vision for the country. at the same time with the exception of his defense of the social safety net, which is to say medicaid and social security, climate change used to be a bipartisan issue.
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immigration reform used to be a bipartisan issue. even gay rights is something where you have conservatives that support marriage equality. in the end substantively is it that much of a dramatic shift? >> with the exception of gay rights, there is very little that is significant in the obama agenda that could not have been proposed and was not proposed by moderate republicans in the late 1990s and early 2000's. newt gingrich sat on the couch. the health care plan is based off the 1993 bob dole and lincoln chafy health care plan, and you can go on and on down the list like that. that's what i thought was interesting to e.j.'s point. this was not really a speech about what obama wants to get done next. it was about making a philosophical case for what obama and america has already done. somewhat what i think is unusual is an enormous amount of it and -- >> already one day in. >> already unusual one day in. i want to make this sweeping statement early on here. >> please do. that's what we trade on the show. >> it will be dedicated to consolidating the achievements
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of his first term. getting universal health care done was a big deal, but it hasn't happened yet. it will happen almost entirely many his second term sxshgt same can be said for dodd frank, and the same can be said for the mooumt put into place when he began to endorse gay marriage, and you also saw, of course, it moving across the state. there's a lot happening now that has already happened statutorily or in public opinion, and obama is coming back and making the case for it, where in the first term a lot of it is about making awe compromised case in order to get it through the legislative process initially. >> it's almost more of a quota than a forward. >> yeah. just real quick on one point, and you talk about it in terms of policy, but you are missing two very key things that conservatives keyed in on that goes to the underlying fill ones si of that policy. one of which you stated at the beginning of the show, which was a renewed faith in the power of government, and the president said in his speech individual freedoms require collective action. that combination for conservatives speaks to an
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enhanced and greater role of government in our businesses, in our lives in a way that we have not seen heretofore, which will drive those policies, and that's going to be the nub of the argument going forward on economic issues, on social issues, and a host of other issues coming down the pike. >> i think what makes this a very progressive speech, a liberal speech, is not whether it compares to ten years ago whether it would be liberal, but how it compares to the barack obama as he has presented himself up medical now. stonewall, he is putting himself in the position of stonewall, but a year ago he was against gay marriage. this is a recent change for him. he is talking about global warming just a few months ago he was running ads in ohio about how he is coal's best friend. there's significant shifts here. again, on entitlements. it was a defense of entitlements. it wasn't the campaign rhetoric that we need to change our entitlement slightly.
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it was really telling the activist community i'm your guy now. you don't have to worry about the first few years when we were fighting, and like you can -- let's go for it. >> the first term wasn't exactly a term without policy changes, key changes in american politics. >> paul crudman, who had been very critical of the president on the first day of the new term, wrote a column saying, wait a minute, let's look at the progressive achievements of the first term. i thought that was important. i think your point is really critical. it goes to what michael steel said. the republicans want to cast this as government, anti-government. what obama is saying is that the broad american tradition is a much more moderate tradition where nobody on the progressive side now pretends that government can do everything.
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no one is talking about nationalizing steel mills or the banks. >> or even health care. >> exactly. >> they are saying that government can be a partner with the private sector, with the private charitable to get stuff done. the fundamental progressive position has been a position about balance between government and the rest of the society, and so government is a partner, and that was the argument he was making. >> michael steel, on the entitlement -- >> yeah. >> yes, he says weekly. there has been -- i mean, the question is how do republicans -- the "wall street journal" probably the busiest newsroom yesterday, so much to write about, says -- they write in an op ed, we the government. mr. obama will thus get a respectful hearing for his agenda even if he has never been as candid as he was monday in asserting his liberal ambitions. if the second term does break down, let the reported show that the president set the tone with his second inaugural. i just don't know that anybody
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is going to buy the idea that washington is broken and that we have partisan gridlock is because of president obama's second inaugural speech. >> no. you know, i wouldn't go that far either. i think that the president did do a little bit of a smackdown, and he put a little bit back on the in your face for a lot of conservatives with respect to, you know, we cannot mistake absolutism for principle. that was a clear shot at some of the stronger conservative absolutist arguments, which even as national chairman, i had issues with many terms of trying to frame a conversation with the american people, because to e.j.'s point, the american people aren't absolutists, except for in the context of their own home where the government and none of us belong. you know, i think that the party is going to have to walk this line a little bit more carefully. we can start to throw down a little bit. maybe we'll see how the
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conversation starts tomorrow. i know you're watch and waiting to see the debt ceiling argument and what the rhetoric is around that. that will be the first salvo of how they frame this new conversation with the new and improved barack obama 2.0. >> let me ask by medicare and social security. >> please. >> there's. >> what would you like to know? >> there was a lot of talk during the latest round -- the last round of negotiations as to whether republicans actually wanted a grand bargain, asking whether democrats wanted a grand bargain, and the answer was perhaps. the white house was happy to let the republicans put cuts to medicare and social security on the table and not have to own that. the president issued a defense of those programs yesterday, and already you're seeing ken mccarthy this morning saying republicans in the house are trying to protect these programs. has he, in effect, put them on defense now with those programs? >> it's not just that he has. one thing we do in washington is we love listening to presidential speeches and arguing over them. >> as we are doing. >> as we are doing. we give these kind of communication moments. a sort of motivating force in
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what happens. the reason republicans are saying they need to protect social security and medicare isn't just president obama is giving good speeches on the topic, but because these are programs that are incredibly popular and they work. the reason the republicans feel backlash when they go against them is voters care about them. there is a kind of remarkable consensus that undergirds our politics. republicans now agree that you have to protect medicare and social security and even medicaid now. they may not be doing that in their budgets, and i think the details of their budgets are quite frankly radical these days, but reportedly they agree with in a. democrats have, and including president obama agree that the bush tax cuts should be preserved for almost all americans. all americans making less than $400,000 or $450,000 a year. there's more space that people give it credit for. obama's speech yesterday, this isn't getting at an agenda that's radical. it's not a different agenda than when he ran for 2008 and not a
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different one that he pushed in 2010 or that he got re-electeded for in 2012. there's a lot more here that people -- it's because there is a broad consensus to some degree in this country. >> maybe america is turning into the progressive society that ronald reagan would be terrified of. let me ask you in terms of -- >> be still my heart. >> michael steel is going to have a heart attack on set. there's been talk about this being a triptic, which was the election night speech and the inaugural speech, and now we have the state of the union. what do we expect from that in terms of how aor specific on the policy that he gestured towards yesterday. >> i think he has to keep up this pressure going forward, and i think the real question i think we'll be looking for tea leaves in the state of the union address to what extent does he want to keep these as issues and continue building momentum. he believes coming out of the 2012 election that there is an emerging majority that will only get stronger going forward, and he talked to the white house. they talk about what they can get done in the next two years.
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the next four years. our work will not be done here. >> the work begins anew. >> the work will continue after me. so on an issue like global warming, there is not some big legislative package coming this year on global warming. they don't even have democratic votes for that. what obama is doing is seeding the ground, beginning the discussion to kind of shift the popular perception of global warming, and that is something that we might get more clues about. where on immigration? is he willing to come to the table with marco rubio, or does he really want to keep bashing more radical elements of the republican party? does i want to deal this year or take it to 2014? those are the questions. >> that's sort of the administration beyond the party. e.j. >> what you are seeing from obama is someone who is willing now to say right up front this is what i want, and then let's
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deal. there's a lot of talk that the assault weapons ban can't get enough votes. he didn't say i should take that out of my plan as a concession to the other side. i want to put it in there, and let's negotiate it. maybe if i can't get that, i'll get everything else. the other point is he -- during the campaign in 2008, it may have been as early as 2007, he liked comparing himself to railroad. what's significant about what michael said is reagan wasn't just a guy who had eight years in mind. he wanted to build a long conservative ascend yancey, and what obama has in mind is i won't get everything done in these four years. i may have a republican house the entire time, but i can begin to build a movement and support for a set of ideas the way ronald reagan did so we can have more victories down the line. >> that's what keeps michael steel up at night. we have to leave it there for
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now. this is a live look at the washington national cathedral where president obama is attending the national prayer service. after the break, if his dpesic agenda wasn't ambitious enough, he faces a growing checklist abroad. can he cement his foreign policy legacy with less military and more diplomacy? we'll discuss next. hey, our salads. [ bop ] [ bop ] [ bop ] you can do that all you want, i don't like v8 juice. [ male announcer ] how about v8 v-fusion. a full serving of vegetables, a full serving of fruit. but what you taste is the fruit. so even you... could've had a v8. but what you taste (announcer) scottrade knows our and invest their own way. with scottrade's smart text, i can quickly understand my charts, and spend more time trading. their quick trade bar lets my account follow me online so i can react in real-time. plus, my local scottrade office is there to help.
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zoirchlgts when you get back home, you are going to be greeted by a grateful nation, and that you will be on our minds tonight and every single night until our mission in afghanistan is complete. >> that was president obama at an inaugural ball last evening speaking in person to members of
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the military and by video conference to those across the world in afghanistan. as a nation celebrated the beginning of the president's second term, complex realities remain regarding america's commitments abroad. a precarious drawdown from afghanistan, unpredictable unfractured leadership in the middle east and the expansion of terrorist cells into failed states around the globe. just two days before a hostage crisis in alyear gentleman left 37 dead, including three americans. in his inaugural address the president cautioned against continued military intervention, which is indeed seeming like the new normal after more than a deck of aed war. >> we, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not rear perpetual war. we will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully. not because we are naive about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. >> ezra, we talked about things that were surprising and perhaps not surprising many the speech
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in the last block, but i thought this foreign policy piece was one of the more surprising things he mentioned. insofar as it sounded like obama 1.0, the obama that was elected in 2008, who has since expanded the use of drones and extra judicial killings, who has had a very aggressive national security policy in place. i wondered what that meant, especially against the back drop of what is happening in the middle east, in syria, and algeria, and mali. what was your read on it? >> but has also, to be fair to president obama, ended the iraq war and begun the drive out of the afghanistan war. one of the really interesting things about the second term, we talked in the first segment about all of the issues of medicare and social security. anything there has to go through a republican house. >> right. >> creating obama's foreign policy does not, for the most part, and we can argue about congressional authority, but presidents have wide latitude on foreign policy, and his appointments on the foreign policy side in chuck hagel and to some lesser extent john kerry have been somewhat aggressive and particularly hagel, who is more so probably than any other
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serving politician, and sort of more than any other republican politician formed his foreign policy status or prestige as a reaction to the failures of the meeo conservatism. in a way that didn't seem possible, there does seem to be a concerted effort here to coninstruct a post neo conservative foreign policy consensus to learn the lessons of essentially the bush era, where the first one was cleaning up what bush had done, and the second one was defining what comes next, and you saw that in the inaugural, and you are also seeing it in the appointments. those matter even more. >> michael, roger cohen writes, "when i asked myself what i hoped barack obama's second term would inaugural, my answer was a new era of diploma as where i. remember that thing? the nobel peace prize. obama has chosen two knowledgeable professionals who have seen enough war to loathe it and have deep experience of the world. i think they're sharing a brain today, at least for on this one.
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hagel and kerry would seem to be at great emissaries of that reboot. >> i think you also look at the worlds as it is today. what can they really do? when obama came in, he was able to say i'm not bush and to go arnold the world with that message and that did make a difference beyond just winning him a nobel peace prize. >> most of his first term was management. he was managing the arab spring and managing terrorists and managing a drawdown in afghanistan. it wasn't really the big vision. we don't have a comprehensive test ban treaty, and not resolution with iran. there's no big picture thing. when i spoke with the president in december about this and asked him sort of a broad question about foreign policy, his answer was asia. i think there's a lot of opportunity in asia, and i think that's actually where he will turn just because -- >> he has 79d to make that pivot for quite a while now. >> it's also one where he has more control over it. he doesn't want to get us involved in another war in north africa. it's not like he can go into mali and solve that situation there. he does feel like america has
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the influence there that the american powers being received well by a number of countries, and it really is the emerging issue of the next century, and so that he begin to lay the ground work for that. >> chairman steel, i guess i wonder -- i know you disagreed with the "wall street journal" before, but we have a wall street journal excerpt that you may agree with. perhaps, they write, you heard that the tide of war is receding, except apparently where it isn't, which seems to be much of the world. mr. obama said in his inaugural address that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. true, but they require perpetual vigilance, which is what is needed now. >> i don't know how you play this as a democrat or a republican. you see what happened in algeria. you see where al qaeda is going. you hear what michael has to say. what does he do on this? can he ignore this? can he ignore syria? >> first thing is first. yes, obama has been -- bin laden is still dead. we can set that aside. now let's focus on exactly the new landscape as it's being reshaped before our very eyes, and the question that a lot of
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people have in the intelligence community and certainly in republican caucuses is where is the administration going to lead on this? you still have hanging over our heads -- and this is going to be the dance of the fairies in a few weeks on benghazi, when the secretary of state goes and starts getting into the very deep discussion about what that intelligence snafu was all about. you have all these competing interests. yes, the president wants to pivot out of the middle east to asia because then you can talk about some things that while foreign policy related have economic undertones and some other undertones that he can do the big broad speeches on. here you have to be a little bit -- begin to be a little more specific. when you have a president that has been so effective in his use of drones, for example, a lot of his own base now are sitting there questioning so what exactly does this new policy look like? does it mean more drones, less drones? now al qaeda is acting up. >> in failed states in northwest
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africa. e.j. >> when i was at the inauguration yesterday, it could have been just where i happened to be walking, i saw more anti-drone demonstrators than i saw right to life demonstrators. i think that issue is going to be alive. you know, if the old slogan was peace through strength, boem's is arguing strength through peace. israelis saying we have to pull in and rebuild ourselves so we can be strong. >> let me interrupt you for just a second. the national prayer service has just ended, and the president is leaving washington national cathedral. it's a tradition that began with george washington's inauguration in 1789. i'm sorry we have to cut you off there, my friend. >> that's quite all right. >> prayer is more important than me. >> george washington's traditions are more important. coming up, 40 years after roe v. wade shows -- we will look at setbacks in the fight for choice when the president of planned parenthood joins us just ahead. mom always got good nutrition to taste great.
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raze cline, my friend, there is a vote on the debt ceiling tomorrow, and i want to know -- >> there is? >> did you know? what's your over and under on that? >> i think it will probably pass unless boehner is going to get badly humiliated again. i was shocked by what they did. in the textbook of what they're doing, they are not lifting the debt ceiling. they are putting into the bill that instead of lifting the debt ceiling, we are suspending it, so we are saying that for this period of three months the debt ceiling gets no higher, it just does not apply. it has magically vanished. we live in a sane political world in which we no longer have a debt ceiling. in addition to basically saying we don't have enough sort of leverage on this to fight on it, they have also set the precedent of you know what we can do, make the debt ceiling disappear, and then nobody has to vote on raising it. i think they should do that for a little bit longer. like forever. >> it is smoke and mirrors. i really don't think the world republican necessarily applies
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to many of the members in the house republican caucus. unfortunately, we have to leave it there. thank you, my friend, for your time, and infinite wisdom. it is always great to see you. coming up after the break, the decades after the struggle for equal rights began, there are still a handful of states that continue to deny basic health services to women. one of them is mississippi where a pitched battle threat toenz deny the estate's women their constitutional right to reproductive choice. we will speak with planned patient hooth cecil richards next on "now." at a dry cleaner, we replaced people with a machine. what? customers didn't like it. so why do banks do it? hello? hello?! if your bank doesn't let you talk to a real person 24/7, you need an ally. hello? ally bank. your money needs an ally.
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begins with back pain and a choice. take advil, and maybe have to take up to four in a day. or take aleve, which can relieve pain all day with just two pills. good eye. but, dad, you've got... [ voice of dennis ] allstate. with accident forgiveness, they guarantee your rates won't go up just because of an accident. smart kid. [ voice of dennis ] indeed. are you in good hands? >> spirchlgts speaking on the 40th anniversary of roe v. wade, those that would want to turnover the decision, spoke at the u.s. capitol. >> 40 years today marks the u.s. supreme court's infamous, reckless, and inhumane abandonment of women and babies to abortionists. 40 yoerz of victims, dead babies, wounded women, shattered
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families. >> abortion is not health care. every taxpayer dollar that planned parenthood that misuses is not going to women who are in need of health. >> today as anniversary comes as support for reproductive choice is at a record high. a new nbc news-wall street journal poll finds that for the first time a majority of adults, 54%, say abortion should be legal, all or most of the time. seven in ten americans oppose roe v. wade being overturned. this overwhelming support for choice is perhaps due to the recent and largely rep rehenceible focus of the republicans. these are profound changes, the dialogue we have had in the last year has contributed to inform and shift attitudes, said nbc juz pollster bill mcinturf. while president obama's re-election ensured that roe
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will he remain the law of the land for at least four years. lawmakers chippewa at the ruling's found aings. in its cover story time magazine that noted while abortion rights activists won an epic victory back in 1973, "they have been losing ever since." emboldened by a sweeping victory in the 2010 midterms republicans enacted a record 92 bills restricting abortion rights in state capitols in 2011 and a further 43 in 2012. the number of abortion clinics nationwide has shrunk dramatically in the last 30 years to the point that today four states, arizona, north dakota, south dakota, and mississippi, have only one clinic in the entire state. mississippi is now in danger of losing its sole clinic due to requirements that are by design made virtually impossible to comply with. 40 years on the american public -- 40 years the public may be embracing roe now more than ever, but that isn't always felt by women at the state level looking for reproductive choice. joining the panel is the president of planned parenthood cecil richards. thank you for joining us, especially on this day. >> thanks for having me. great to see you.
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>> give me some wisdom here. we see this polling that is fresh polling. it shows that americans are supportive of reproductive choice, and yet, you have legislators at the state level in the u.s. congress who are trying to erode, chippewa at that choice. perhaps paying no attention to what their constituents actually want. >> i think that's right. in fact, politicians are vastly out of step with american people. not only with women, but men as well. i think we saw that in the november election in which a candidate in mitt romney ran on overturning roe on getting rid of planned parenthood and was defeated by the largest gender gap ever in our history. so i actually think that -- unfortunately, though, even since that election that politicians in some of these states have continued on this assault on women's health and rights, and, yet, as you said, we're seeing record support for roe, and for the fundamental right of women to make their own personal medical decisions, not politicians. >> michael steel, setting aside for a moment the actual choice
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question, roe v. wade, we have talked with cecil at length and talked to a number of women doctors, women themselves, a lot of what these clinics do is provide basic health care for low income women. >> right. >> we see in text technical the lack of federal funding for planned parenthood in texas is going to disenfranchise over 100,000 minority and low income women. why are knows republicans doubling down on this to this day? >> i think for a lot of republicans what they're looking and particularly pro-life republicans, they're looking at other poles showing that a significant number of americans self-identify as pro life. now, what is interesting is they may self-identify as pro life, but they also -- >> support roe v. wade. >> support roe versus wade. that's a very distinguishing point. it's the first time we've seen this in politics, and i really think that now there's a little bit of grappling with that at the state legislative level where you have legislators who are reflecting in arkansas, for example, or mississippi the value system there and the
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political climate there, which is not the same as new york or maryland where i'm from, and that's why you are seeing this sort of hodge podge of states sort of aggressively go after this issue to sort of get in front of the polling that shows 51% of americans or 51% or more in my community say that they're pro-life, irrespective of where their view is on roe. >> michael, in terms of chipping away at roe, it seems now that it really sort of to a certain degree the actual supreme court ruling may be -- it may be negligable in terms of what you can do to restrict a woman's right to choose. today is "the "wall street journal" day so i'll read this. i don't need a constitutional amendment to overturn roe, said charm action news, president of americans united for life, an anti-abortion law firm that works with state groups on local legislation. clinic regulations do actually challenge roe. >> you have two storylines that you have to think of at the same time. on the one hand, on the state
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level, pro life activists had enormous success and continue to have enormous success. the views of abortion are continuing to be move in the negative direction since the roe v. wade decision. at the same time republicans have overplayed their hands and turned the issue of abortion into one of invade aing woman's privacy, control over her own body, and when you talk to the obama campaign about how they use this issue in 2012, what they'll say is that for our voters, this wasn't an issue about abortion. we didn't talk about abortion. it wasn't about abortion. it was about whether i can control my own body, and that was the reason that the obama campaign was constantly talking about rape exemptions and things like that, because for young voters, both women and men, but more women, the issue of abortion for them now is not something about they want the right to have an abortion. it's that they don't want someone else restricting what they can do with their body, and so you have these two divergent story lines. they're moving in different directions wrush see different movement on the state and federal level as well.
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>> i want to bring in now from mississippi the owner of the jackson women's health organization, diane. diane, you are on the frontlines here. we're talking about how clinics are basically being regulated out of existence in mississippi and in other states in the south. largely. can you tell us from the frontlines what it is like for you as the owner of a private clinic that offers abortions to women and the fact that you are facing an uncertain future? >> absolutely. you're seeing this not only in mississippi, but in several other states. they have passed bills that they know are going to be impossible for us to meet, and then use that to legislate us out of business. that's where we are here with the admitting privileges bill. we are in federal court at this point and looking, i guess, for a long court battle. >> what is the -- what has been the reaction to the women you serve in the various communities, or throughout the state, i would presume, since you are the only clinic that offers those services in
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mississippi? i mean, has there been outcry? >> not particularly. you know, unfortunately, people don't think about abortion until they need one, and that is -- i think that's the joke here is who is -- everyone is opposed to abortion until the fact they find themselves in that situation. women in mississippi, like women in every other state, do what they need to do for survival, and, you know, the thought that abortion might be not there is something they're concerned about, but that's not the first concern when they wake up in the morning. >> cecil, in terms of grassroots activism and getting women engaged on this issue, the interesting piece in "time" -- "time" and the "wall street journal" are the only media outlets i'm quoting today. abortion activists have a strategy to modernize the cause. they often don't even mention the term pro-choice, which they say is limit and outdated. instead these young leaders have embraced a cause known as reproductive justice. a broader more diffuse sdwraend
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that addresses abortion access and also contraception, gay rights, health insurance, and economic opportunity. >> i think this is an important point. i would like to respond to both of you two. look, i don't think views on abortion have changed. this is always a deeply personal issue, one that people have very strong personal opinions on. you look at the decision 40 years ago. that was the decision that was written by nixon appointee at a time in which republicans agreed that these were important personal medical decision that is women had to make, not politicians. i think what's happened is the gnomen clature of pro-life and pro-choice doesn't reflect the complexity of these issues and the deeply personal nature of them, and that's why we're seeing, i mean, the last two years more than two million new activists joined planned parenthood. many of them young people. they simply don't relate to the language that was used back in the 1960s and 1907s, and they're saying, look, it's our decision. it's really important that women make their own decision about their pregnancy, whatever that may be.
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>> and increasingly, the issue of choice is, in fact, wrapped up with women's reproductive almost -- these are civil rights issues on a lot of levels. how is a transvaginal ultrasound not a violation of privacy. >> i think with michael, i would say to you, i have read what you say about this, i do believe that republican values are sort of -- have -- they've lost hold in the party in many ways, as a party of believing in individual rights, individual responsibilities, no government intrusion, except in this arena, and i think we can agree this is a deeply personal issue. it's one that should be made by women, their doctors, their families, and not by politicians. >> it becomes a little bit of a conflict when you argue for the right of individuals to make, you know, choices and then you start to limit those choices, which is the societial argument that you have. the question i have, to the point you just raised, alex, about how this generation as "the times" pointed out, are they diffusing the ultimate he message here, or conversation when they -- in the context of talking about reproductive
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routes or abortion and pro-life, you now are talking about gay rights and you are talking about all these issues that kind of -- >> i don't think it's just semantics. i do think that these -- some of these issues are very much under assault under the banner of roe v. wade. e.j., before we go. >> i just -- i'm frustrated with this 40 year conversation. we ought to be talking about how to make abortion less common. there is a shared agenda you could have across these lines. cecil and i have talked about this. that includes contraception and support for women who want to have their kids. i would like us to move to figuring out how to reduce the number of abortions. >> as an adopted kid, i say adoption all the way. >> that is the largest provider of family planning, this is -- we welcome this work. the more we can do to provide women access to birth control, the fewer unintended pregnancies in the first place. >> to michael's point, pro-life doesn't necessarily mean not pro-choice, right? diane from the jackson women's health organization, thank you so much. i'm sorry we have to let you go there. we will have much more with
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cecil richards and our incredible panel after the break. [ female announcer ] this is your moment.
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>> we are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anyone else because she is an american. she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of god, but also in our own. >> we were talking in the first block, cecil, about whether or not the president was making a decidedly progressive march forward. you play that sound, and if you think that's partisanship, sign me up because i feel like that is a message so broad, so fundamentally acceptable and so pavr the core of who we are as americans, i can't see how it's a shot fired across the bow. >> it was the most all-american statement you can make, and we were talking a little bit about how the republican party not really the party, i think, michael, i think the leadership of the party has gone so off the deep end in terms of women's
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basic access to health care and rights. >> eej the way they talk about women. the language around women. >> to e.j.'s point, to go back to that for a minute, i think that we were part of at planned parenthood, part of this study in the st. louis area the last five years to show that if women actually had access to birth control at no cost, which is what's promised under the affordable care act, could we make a dent in that unintended pregnancy, and shocking news, the unintended pregnancy rate went down, the abortion rate went down, the teen pregnancy rate went down, and so this is to me one of the sort of unsung victories in the affordable care act to say, boy, if women had access to family planning, we could take care of a lot of the problems on the front end. >> if i could dovetally on the end of that. it is the fact that when we create these opportunities, this access to, you know, contraceptives or whatever, there's got to be some level of education and information and responsibility. not just of the individuals who are engaging, but if they're
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young or teenagers. parents who are involved to make sure that their children understand completely what this very adult activity involves, and the reality of it is a lot of folks -- and this is a concern for members of faith traditions, et cetera, we put this stuff out there, and then there's, you know, okay, kids, you've got it. now we need to complete the rest of it. >> it's all about strengthening the american family as well. before we go, i have to ask you guys, if there is one -- what is your take on what the president moves forward on first, which is to say a lot of things were outlined yesterday. is it climate change? is it immigration? is it -- >> immigration and guns. i think you're going to see real movement on immigration in the next two weeks, and i think they want to get the gun thing done quickly. >> michael. >> i don't know if the gun thing will be done this year, depending on how the house republicans move, but i think immigration is coming in the next month, and they want to try to get something at least before the house republicans by september. >> cecile. >> i think immigration and getting affordable care act actually enacted and the way that it was promised.
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a lot of folks out there are ready to get health care access. >> michael. >> immigration and my sleeper is -- >> sleeper hits. >> i have a sleeper. it is the environment. it is going to be. >> i was waiting for somebody to say energy. >> it is going to be the whole energy debate. i think that's his obama care in the second term. >> i like the ambition, chairman. >> we'll have final thoughts -- >> gives us something to fight about. >> we will have final thoughts when we return after the break. everyone loves surprise parties. yeah, so last week we had a surprise party for our dear friend, lizzy. surprise! surprise! surprise! surprise! we totally got her! [ male announcer ] when you combine creamy velveeta with zesty rotel tomatoes and green chiles, you'll get a bowl of queso that makes even this get-together better. you'll get a bowl of queso clusters of pustules, pimples. i had this shingle rash right next to my spine. the soreness was excruciating. it was impossible to even think about dancing. when you're dancing, your partner is holding you.
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>> that is all for us today. thank you to michael steel, cecile riches, echt j., and michael. remember to pick up "our divided political heart." it's now out in paperback. see you tomorrow noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific.
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